Warm and sweet on the outside and moist and purple on the inside. Ube has made its way into DK’s Donuts and Bakery, a popular donut shop and celebrity hang out in Santa Monica.
"You have your traditional donuts like glazed donuts, glazed twists, cinnamon rolls, and old fashioned donuts. People like old fashioned but there’s so many people waiting to try new things," said Mayly Tao, co-owner of DK’s Donuts.
With celebrity foodies declaring Filipino food as the next big food trend, Tao, whose family has owned DKs for over 30 years, decided to give it a try.
With many Filipino friends, Tao who is Chinese, Thai, and Cambodian, acquired the ube flour from The Buttermilk Truck, a Filipino-owned food truck and catering company known for their exotic pancakes.
While there aren’t many Filipinos on this side of town, DK’s got a lot of attention last year when it was believed to be the first donut shop to create their version of the Cronut.
"I just have many Filipino friends and I have a close friend, Marian, she told me, ‘Hey, I’ve got this great friend here who has buttermilk named GG’ and said ‘I think it would be great if you guys had a donut’," said Tao.
He added, “After experimenting with it myself through baking, I figure it has a different texture than taro for sure and it’s actually a little darker in color. I think it’s unique to Filipinos and Filipino culture”.
While the warmth and slight crisp of freshly made donut glaze can melt in your mouth, the soft inside had the slight tartness of the Filipino favorite.
A more dry and fluffy ube flavor was also present in the baked Ube muffin.
Filipinos looking for the taste agree.
"I’m not a big fan of ube, but this is good," said Joyce Cobilla of Long Beach, California.
Dennis Llanora of Los Angeles said, “I like ube. It’s good.”
Non-Filipino donut lovers also gave the purple yam a chance.
"I’m not one of those people that describe what they taste, all I know is good or it’s really good or it’s just ok. This one is really good," said customer Hao Hong.
While none of the celebrity customers have yet to come across the ube donut, Filipino foodies said the Filipino ingredient at this celebrity hang out will only help.
"It brings it to the mainstream. I think most people don’t even know what ube is so I think putting it in a donut makes it a little more acceptable," said Scott Asai.
DK’s makes about 30 ube donuts and muffins each day. Donuts cost $1.50 while the muffins are $2 and each batch has sold out by day’s end.